Cary seeks grants for 3-mile bike trail within Fox River corridor

The segment, located along Rawson Bridge Road, would be part of future extensions linking Lake and McHenry bike trails

Members of the McHenry County Bicycle Club ride along McHenry County roads on Thursday, July 14, 2016. Some area communities are working to connect all the trails and make the area more bike friendly.

The village of Cary is seeking state money to help pay for a bike path that would connect portions of the Fox River bike corridor.

The project includes a 3-mile section of on- and off-street bike paths that would run along Rawson Bridge Road between Cary and Port Barrington, including where that road crosses the Fox River, according to a 2018 document on bike trails from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

The Cary Board of Trustees approved a resolution last week in favor of an application to the Illinois Department of Transportation, and a proposal for the grant program was imminent, said Erik Morimoto, Cary’s director of public works and engineering.

The grant, which covers 80% of project costs, could provide about $3 million for the project, Morimoto said.

A map of the on and off-street bike paths that would comprise the Rawson Bridge Bikeway Project. Public works officials at the village of Cary planned to submit a grant proposal for the bikeway by Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

Although Cary is the lead sponsor, the project is a collaboration between the village, Port Barrington, and the Algonquin and Nunda township road districts.

The Rawson Bridge stretch of bike paths would be a “regional priority” for Lake and McHenry county bike trails, according to a village presentation.

While the bridge itself would not be widened, adding a mix of new striping and separated bike lanes would provide a “safer, more convenient way” for pedestrians and bicyclists to move through the corridor, which currently has little existing designated bike lanes, Morimoto said.

Before the Rawson Bridge project would get underway, Cary plans to construct buffered bike lanes along First Street, from Three Oaks Road to Route 14, which would provide bicyclists with a north-south route between Three Oaks Road and downtown Cary, Morimoto said.

That project still is being finalized, but funding was approved as part of the 2025 transportation plans passed by the McHenry County Council of Mayors.

“We’re very fortunate to have a very extensive bike network here in Cary,” Morimoto said. “We have great access to recreational amenities and are well connected here. But work never ends, and there are more pieces of the puzzle.”